This will form the basis, and subject of another, later blog, most likely on Nerdspan.
In the interim, though, I went on a bit of a rant about Aquaman today, because sometimes there’s nothing like flogging a dead horse. I include here, for ease of reference, the rant in its entirety.
I picture an Aquaman with unlimited storytelling potential, and distinct from the other superhero comics out there, whilst still falling as part of the oeuvre. Put in Arthurian and Classical Legend, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Lord of the Rings, Journey to the West, A Game of Thrones and its historical basis, the 1001 Nights, Conan, the West Wing, Starman, Indiana Jones and the Phantom Stranger and then allow to simmer.
Aquaman could be more mirthful and warmer, but also wiser and grander. Less gruff and more commanding. Less grim and more titantic. He’s challenging the King of the Coral Forest to single combat to save the city of Tytanos from his Eyeless Legions. He’s unmasking a plot by the surface to buy Atlantean weapons technology in return for changing shipping lanes to shadow undersea cropland belonging to a robber baron’s political enemies. He’s delving into a haunted undersea pyramid to rescue two children lost and doomed. He’s travelling into the Marianas Trench to forge an alliance with the rebels of Yost, who demand a democratic parliament ameliorating his absolute monarchy. When the stars align, the City of Drowned Men, made of moonlight, appears below the Bermuda Triangle, and Arthur must brave it to solve a twenty-year old murder – with a terrifying oracle for his future thrown into the bargain!
Once a year Aquaman disguises himself like Haroun Al Raschid and goes out amongst the populace as an information gatherer and good Samaritan. Mera is Queen. Vulko is Prime Minister. Joseph Curry is Atlantean Ambassador to the UN. Neptune Perkins is the UN Ambassador to Atlantis.
Aquaman and Queen Mera try to pacify a land that does not accept his return. An empire fractured into warring states who will not bow to a man they do not accept. Hekiatos, Captain of the Red Tide and Lady Brax of Felm, rulers of a million men agree to accept Arthur as King only if he completes Seven (like the Seas, see?) challenges: tame Spawns-in-Darkness, the Shadow of the Sea, beat Old Man Turtle in a game of chess (he wins thanks to a com-link with Mr. Terrific!), find the only once blooming bioluminescent Flower of the Madrigals, and wind it in Hekiatos’ paramour’s hair, and so on, and so on. After succeeding Hekiatos accepts and bends the knee, but Brax declares that “time and tide” draw all men hence, and takes her army with all haste to join with Orm, Heir Apparent to the throne of Poseidonis!
Members of Arthur’s court turn up murdered with three black lines tattooed across their foreheads. It seems like a conspiracy of assassins bent on bringing down his court – until it turns out to be the work of a group of fanatical Aquaman loyalists bent on suppressing dissent! Unfortunately, they’ve been co-opted by the Confessors of Dyss, who are, in fact, awakening Jorumgard from his slumber deep beneath Atlantis – and even as Aquaman condemns his own fanatical supporters to death and leaves his newly formed elector parliament bereft of voices, a massive seaquake strikes the City and the beast rears forth!
Aquaman must fight to maintain primacy, govern justly, and at the same time, protect 70% of the Earth’s population from the wonders and horrors of the Outer Depths. Aquaman will be (ideally) in the Justice League, and free to cross-over with his fellow DC heroes, but in his own title they will be calls to ascend – half diplomatic trips, half quests for the Grail, taking him, though necessarily, away from his kingdom.